Why Is It So Hard to Make the Changes We Need to Make to Achieve Our Dreams? (And What We Want to Do About It)
I always planned to be a professor.
Throughout college and for many years after. I laid the groundwork to go back to school for a PhD in Italian literature.
Travel writing was meant to be a way to pay the bills legally while I was in Italian working on research for a dissertation.
There’s all sorts of odd things you have to also learn about to get a PhD, at least in Italian literature.
It wasn’t enough to speak fluent, academic-level Italian. I actually was going to need to pass proficiency tests in up to three other languages, from other romance languages to unrelated ones like German. Theoretically this was so we could read literary criticism on a global scale.
I also would have needed to read and be able to speak at length in an oral exam on every single significant work of Italian literature over a roughly 1,000 year period.
(The requirements have actually, sadly I believe, relaxed quite a bit since I was in the market for a grad school to try to attract more students. I saw sadly mostly because I learned the languages and read the books and then was appalled I wouldn’t actually need to know all that anymore!?
But those were just the basics.
To even get past a masters-level, I would also need to have deep knowledge on one particular subject. To have read every possible book on the subject. To understand and be able to discuss it from all angles.
That idea of the specific research interest is something I have carried with me into both travel writing and the work I now do with all of you. (The rather deep general knowledge idea as well though, to be perfectly honest.)
And while this research interest drives a deep undercurrent in many, many things I do, you might not necessarily see it, so much as feel it, unless you look very closely.
I’m obsessed with finding repeatable ways for us to cut through all of the unnecessary but shiny things and quickly (and relatively easily) get exactly what we want from our writing careers.
But I’ve run into an annoying issue here.
It stymied me when I was interviewing those who had succeeded in developing a stable career as a travel writer and those who hadn’t to determine where that gap was and how to close it working on The Six-Figure Travel Writing Road Map.
It has stymied me in several relationships I’ve had with writers over the years who have all of the resources and best, top people in many fields at their disposal yet don’t make progress.
And (as you may have seen me write about in a recent newsletter and blog post) it’s also stymied me on my own book project. Entirely because I let it.
In professional coaching circles, when a person won’t take the actions to move toward their goal in any way, they are termed, technically, uncoachable.
It’s a slightly more complicated determination, but basically you get to very clearly know it when you see it.
Digging deeper though, another way to say it is that the pain of not having whatever a person says they want is simply not strong enough yet that the person is compelled to act on it.
Or, in plainer words, that you have to bottom out somehow before you’ll make a change.
I f*Ing hate this.
It’s not what I want for any of you.
And it kills me to know that I could put all of the resources and tools in someone’s hands and they still wouldn’t get where they want to go because they won’t stop getting in their own way.
I’ve had a lot conversations recently this summer and fall as I work on my second and third professional coaching certifications (I’ll be writing more about what these are, why I’m getting them, and what they allow me to do on our blog soon) with other coaches about this issue and most are resigned to it.
But I’m not. It pisses me off. I want you to get what you’ve dreamed of without hitting rock bottom first.
So, without even realizing it, armed with some very powerful tools I picked up from these trainings and certification, I started making some serious, serious changes in my own life.
Almost cold turkey, I’ve:
- stopped watching TV ever (I used to use it very effectively to keep me working through boring repetitive tasks that needed to get done, but it also caused me to stay up too late on far too many occasions) and completely switched to reading books in the evenings–and going to bed earlier and thus becoming a morning person, which I have never been before!
- completely swapped coffee (from like a four or five a day habit) to tea
- entirely changed my diet (cutting out things I know I shouldn’t really be eating but allow myself to eat when traveling, at events, eating out with my husband, and any other excuse-y situation
- and many other changes in how I manage my time, day, and tasks
Without quite knowing I was doing it, I’ve been using myself ans my life, Tim Ferriss-style as a lab for all of the same types of deep changes that you need to make in your lives to reach your travel writing dream, whatever that looks like for you.
That’s why I’m particularly pumped that it’s just about time to open up our twice-annual application period for our coaching program.
I’ve seen the impact this can have seriously on myself, but I really, truly care way more when it happens for you guys.
One person I coach was having huge issues with her friends and husband feeling hurt that she was “bailing” on them to do work, and we had a really empowering chat about it that I’ve watched not only have sweeping affects on those day-to-day parts of her interactions with them, but that has trickled into her confidence of her articles ideas, ability to get pitches done, and the quality of those pitches.
So if you’ve been waiting for our coaching program to open, I wanted to be really upfront and tell you a couple things.
- I will be writing some more on the blog about coaching and these certifications I’ve been getting if you’re curious.
- Big “but” here: there are barely any spots opening up this round. I have some that have been claimed by people who joined us at events or put their coaching on pause earlier due to travel and are coming back, and I also have people in our Coaching Lite program moving up into the full program.
If you want to know how the program works and apply, that information will only be going out to people who have opted in here and we will start sending those emails next week, and wrap up reviewing applications and welcoming new folks by the end of the month.
If you blink, you will miss it, which is totally fine unless you have a ticking time clock in your life, as we will open again next spring, probably May.
But please, please do not say that I did not warn you, because you won’t get too far with travel writing (or applying to our program) if you can’t follow an assigning editor’s instructions to the letter.
If you have previously received these emails and would like to do so again, please note they won’t come to you automatically; you’ll need to throw a different email in there to get them coming your way.
I’ve already heard personally from people who will be grabbing a number of spots, so we really don’t have many left, so I’m not going to mention the fact that the program is open much past this.
And if you are not in any kind of place to need coaching, don’t worry because only the folks who opt in will be receiving that info.
So for now, I invite you to think of a change, however small, you can make in your life this upcoming week to be the person you want to become without having to bottom out first.